The Gallery of Misplaced Enthusiasms

There is little that’s sure
On this frail, frail planet—
And little that’s certain
Or carved into granite…
There’s death and there’s sufferings,
Love’s unjustly spurned spasms,
But little that’s sadder
Than misplaced enthusiasms.

Imagine a museum
Unpretentious, not pompous
That welcomes old strollers
And toddlers who rompous,
With no science, no art,
Nor the history of nations,
But touching, true scenes
Of misplaced celebrations.

Imagine, for once, just that moment of truth,
When the man whom you voted for’s proven uncouth,
Or the hope that you might bring the hoola hoop back,
Or your closet still full of those dresses called “sack,”
Or the dinosaurs thinking — “God loves the Jurassic,”
Or the VP who knew that the Edsel was classic.

Imagine that day when dawn’s thrilling and rosy
When you feel – “this is it – life has changed towards the cozy!”
Then your car stops in snow for no reason that’s clear
And a passer-by views you with caution and fear,
Or another drives by with a wink and a sneer:
Just when you say – “This day I’m reborn,”
You thought you had heaven but you’re holding a thorn.

So a Gallery of Misplaced Enthusiasms teaches
What’s liable to snap when a heart overreaches:
When investors in dot-bombs were wealthy then broke,
When the soda pop world drank too deep of New Coke,
When we thought that our past was more angels than chimps,
When we thought that the future of travel was blimps,
When Germany marched so the world would be Prussia,
And Napoleon banked that East France would be Russia.

And here’s how our gallery might quickly be found,
Though it may haunt in dreams it stands firm on the ground
For those who pursue it, you’ll see – it appears
Near another quite well known by would-be King Lears
That’s shattered so many timid careers
And winnowed the peevish from rugged pioneers —
It’s known as the “Hall of Gratuitous Fears.”

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